Subjection, obedience, compliance

By Sabino Cassese

The article distinguishes between subjection, obedience and observance. They are concepts that belong to different legal orders, to different cultures and imply different relationships. Subjection, obedience and observance have different historical locations. The first in the Middle Ages, the second in the Renaissance, the third in the modern age. The key differences are the following. You are subject to a higher order of which you are not part. One obeys norms which belong to the same order or culture of which the one who obeys participates. One observes a norm which has contributed to create, and the norm comes in part from those who observe and abide by the prescriptions of the norm.